Pre workouts are one of the longest-standing classes of workout supplement with the first official formulation—Ultimate Orange—showing-up in the 1980s. Things have come a long way since then with many preworkouts, like 4 Gauge and Beyond Raw LIT, hitting the market. Today we’re taking a closer look at the hip and trendy Ghost Legend Pre Workout.
If you’ve been living under the proverbial rock and have never heard of a pre-workout supplement, they are a class of supplement specifically designed to energize your body and enhance the quality of your workout through improved performance.
And depending on the formulation, some pre-workouts also contain ingredients that promise to increase strength, muscular endurance and provide a greater pump to help build bigger muscles.
About Ghost Legend
The first thing that stands out about Ghost Legend is the branding. With clean lines and vibrant colors, Ghost have shied away from the typical industry approach of draping half-naked bodies all over their product pages and instead put all their energy into positioning themselves as a lifestyle brand.
Directly from the Ghost website:
GHOST is the world’s first lifestyle sports nutrition brand. GHOST encourages people to rethink the boundaries and lifestyles championed by traditional sports nutrition brands in exchange for an all encompassing, fit-lifestyle. GHOST products can be found online at ghostlifestyle.com and in-store at GNC and select retailers worldwide.
Founded in 2016 and head-quartered in Chicago, Ghost is definitely one of the smaller supplement companies out there with just 36 employees. But rather than hiding from this, they actively invite you into their story by sharing compelling and engaging content about the evolution of their brand.
This is marketing done right with strong branding and inclusive messaging that compels you to buy something—just so you can be part of the growing Ghost family.
Ghost Legend Benefits
The goal of any pre workout is to get you amped and ready to crush your workout, and Ghost Legend claims three benefits with their formulation: energy, focus and the pump.
Let’s take a quick look at these headline benefits and the prime movers behind the effect.
Who doesn’t want more energy for their workouts? Especially on leg day!
If you’ve ever trained with real intensity you’ll know that a hard workout leaves you feeling spent—physically and mentally. And while caffeine can get you in the zone, it can also leave you feeling a little hyper and even edgy.
So to help keep you focused and mentally “on”, the Ghost Legend formula includes Alpha-GPC—a notable cholinergic nootropic—as well as Taurine to smooth-out the energy rush and even Theobromine to simply help you feel good.
The science on whether the pump actually helps to build muscle will forever be up for debate, but there’s no debating how the pump makes you feel. And while Arnold is famed for equating the feeling of the pump to that of cumming, Ghost has settled for describing the feeling as legendary.
When we look at the Ghost Legend formula, the pump seems to be at the top of their formulation with multiple ingredients included to help increase and sustain nitrous oxide production—dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow to the muscles.
The big hitter here is L-Citrulline, with Agmatine Sulfate—a derivative of L-Arginine—bringing up the rear.
Ghost Legend Ingredients
Full marks here to Ghost for including a full disclosure label on their products. And while this approach is becoming more and more popular, many manufacturers are still using proprietary blends which leaves the consumer in the dark as to what they are actually ingesting.
A quick scan down the list of ingredients quickly identifies that Ghost Legend includes many of the staples we’d expect to see in a pre workout, as well as a few choices that are somewhat less common.
But overall the ingredient list looks good and includes high-quality, tried and tested ingredients for a balanced pre workout stack. It’s also produced in a GMP compliant facility which assures proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing processes and facilities.
It’s also worth noting that some of the ingredients used in the original formulation here in the US are not approved for the UK/European market. As a result, the Ghost Legend product in the UK does have some substitutions:
- Agmatine and norvaline have been replaced with the pump enhancer Nitrosigine.
- NADH, rauwolfia, rhodiola, and alpha-GPC have been replaced with NeuroFactor and a boost in caffeine from 202mg to 250mg.
The analysis of ingredients in this review is focused on the US formulation, and the table below shows the ingredients for the blue raspberry flavor.
You’ll also notice that for some obscure reason, there is milk listed as an allergen in the blue raspberry flavor—a warning that is not present on the fruit punch flavor.
I reached out to Ghost to clarify whether some flavors of Ghost Legend are suitable for vegans and this is what they said:
Thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately, our Legend Pre-Workout is not vegan and contains NADH, which comes from beeswax.
And a little more research confirms that indeed NADH is generally stabilized using plant fats and, rather obscurely, beeswax. So if you’re a capital “V” vegan, then you’ll need to steer clear of all flavors of Ghost Legend.
|Ingredients||Amount Per Serving|
|Total Carbohydrate||1g (<1% DV)|
|Includes 0g Added Sugars||(0% DV)|
|Calcium||39 mg (3% DV)|
|Potassium||67 mg (1% DV)|
|CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine||2000 mg|
|Agmatine Sulfate||500 mg|
|Ghost Smart Energy|
|Caffeine Anhydrous||165 mg|
|Alpha-GPC (Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline 50%)||150 mg|
|Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) Root extract||50 mg|
|DiCaffeine Malate (delivering 37mg Caffeine)||50 mg|
|Olive (Olea europaea) Leaf extract (40% Oleuropein)||50 mg|
|NADH 10%||2.5 mg|
|Rauwolfia (Rauwolfia vomitoria) Root extract||1 mg|
| Other Ingredients: Malic Acid, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Calcium Silicate, Silicon Dioxide, Citric Acid, Sucralose, Tartaric Acid, FD&C Blue #1 |
Allergen Warning: Contains Milk.
Citrulline is a staple in many formulations of pre workout and pump products, increasing blood flow and potentially supporting improved energy production and muscular endurance. And there is plenty of data supporting L-Citrulline for its ability to dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow.
Now Ghost Legend makes a point of stressing that L-Citrulline is used in their formulation versus Citrulline Malate—largely due to questions of purity and transparency around amount of L-Citrulline actually being provided.
But science suggests that the choice of L-Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate in a formulation is actually one of intent.
Those in the L-Citrulline camp are generally using the ingredient as a means to increase nitric oxide production and improve the pump. Whereas supplements that include Citrulline Malate—Citrulline and Malic Acid—are doing so for the added benefit of improvements to aerobic and anaerobic performance derived from Malic Acid’s participation in the Krebs cycle.
Either way, the inclusion of L-Citrulline here is no surprise, and with 3-5g widely accepted as the dosage for improving workout performance, the 4g in Ghost Legend hits the mark.
Beta Alanine is the granddaddy of pre workout supplementation and is the ingredient responsible for the notorious flushing and tingling of the skin many of us get within minutes of ingestion.
It works by boosting the production of intramuscular Carnosine, which in turn acts as a buffer against lactic acid that builds-up during exercise. The net effect is reduced fatigue and the ability to work out harder and longer.
In terms of dosing, Ghost Legend reports that dosages as low as 1.6g have proven to be effective in eliciting improvements in muscular endurance, and there are some studies to support this. And the highly reputable Examine.com cites standard daily doses of 2-5g.
With Ghost Legend packing 2g of Beta Alanine into every scoop, it should prove effective for most people.
Ghost Legend positions Agmatine Sulfate as the new pump king. And a number of other supplement companies are either including it in their formulation or making it available as a stand-alone supplement.
But while there is some evidence of Agmatine helping to regulate the production of Nitric Oxide in rodents, this decarboxylated arginine chemical is actually categorized as an adaptogen and nootropic with most human studies oriented around mood disorders and neuropathic pain.
There is a lot of animal evidence to suggest agmatine is a highly promising research chemical. It is not a common supplement because there is a lack of human evidence for its effects. Several studies have been done on people, but the majority use agmatine injections, not oral ingestion. Research must establish that agmatine’s effects will work following oral ingestion in order for wide-scale supplementation to be considered.
So while it doesn’t look like it’s going to do you any harm, there’s little evidence to suggest that Agmatine will be the reason behind your shirt-splitting pumps.
Norvaline is another ingredient Ghost Legend has chosen to include that surprises me a little—mostly because conclusive science just isn’t there yet. And Ghost Legend is not alone here, with quite a few manufacturers jumping in early and including it in their formulation.
The premise for its inclusion is likely the role is has to play as an arginase inhibitor, essentially uncapping nitrous oxide production. And as we’ve already learned, more nitric oxide means bigger, more powerful pumps.
But not only is Norvaline an ingredient that doesn’t have strong data to support it, there’s actually some recent data that suggests it may be harmful. For example, a recent study published in Toxicology in Vitro was picked-up in EurekaAlert—a service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
The study, published in Toxicology in Vitro showed that even at relatively low concentrations the amino acid L-norvaline could make cells unhealthy and eventually kill them. This is the first study that investigates the toxicity of L-norvaline in human cells, specifically testing its effect on the health of brain cells arising from its ability to mimic protein amino acids.
On the Ghost Legend label, Taurine is slotted as an ingredient under the umbrella of Smart Energy. And as with Red Bull and other stimulant products, Taurine is likely included in Ghost Legend to help smooth the punch of energy you get from the caffeine.
Caffeine has long been used to boost energy, reduce feelings of fatigue and help improve mental focus, and there’s good evidence in the literature to support it.
Between the Caffeine Anhydrous (165mg) and DiCaffeine Malate (37mg), one serving of Ghost Legend packs a modest caffeine punch of 202mg—roughly the equivalent of 2 cups of regular coffee.
The dosing is certainly safe and inline with previous studies and other products of this class. However, as with all classes of stimulant, the effects are very personal and greatly influenced by your size (body mass) and tolerance.
For example, if you’re a frequent visitor to Starbucks where one grande cup of Pike Place checks-in at 310mg of caffeine, you might not even notice (or benefit) from the effects of the added caffeine at all.
And as with all things caffeine, you should evaluate your dose tolerance carefully and respect the Ghost Legend label warnings to avoid caffeine from other sources while taking this product.
The only thing worth noting with DiCaffeine Malate is that as with many supplement ingredients, there are few or no clinical studies to support the claimed benefits.
With DiCaffeine Malate, the claimed benefit is all the goodness of caffeine but without the crash and less gastric distress.
But with no peer-reviewed journals or meta analysis to verify any of these claims, we are left with either hypotheticals from the manufacturers or anecdotes from consumers.
Ghost Legend includes Alpha-GPC as a nootropic for increasing mental focus in the gym, and it’s a popular ingredient in a number of nootropic formulations as well as a standalone supplement in it’s own right.
However, as with many such ingredients, the science on how it would work to improve cognition and focus in the general population is largely unsubstantiated. And a quick look at reputable sources (webMD, Examine.com) that assess all the available studies suggest that human, peer-reviewed evidence is lacking to support most claims.
We also have doubts about the 150mg of Alpha GPC in Ghost Legend being effective as in the studies where Alpha-GPC shows promise in supplementation, the dosing is generally significantly higher (1000mg+) and often given as an intramuscular injection. Moreover, according to rat studies, the effects of alpha-GPC ingested orally peak at 300-600 mg/kg—that’s an estimated human dose of 48-96 mg/kg which for a 150lb human is 3,272-6,545 mg daily!
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb and staple of Chinese herbal medicine that is often used to reduce the effects of physical and mental exhaustion. So there’s a really good chance that this will help mitigate workout fatigue.
However, the 50mg of Rhodiola included in Ghost Legend is at the low-end of the study spectrum with a larger number of studies showing effectiveness with 200mg or 3mg/KG of body weight.
Theobromine is a naturally occurring compound found in cacao plants and is largely responsible for giving dark chocolate its typical bitter taste.
Amongst the many reported benefits, Theobromine:
- Acts as a mild stimulant, increasing heart rate in a dose-dependant manner not unlike caffeine.
- Lowers blood pressure when taken in higher doses of 250-1000mg.
- May help brain function improving performance on mental tasks.
However the 50mg of Theobromine in Ghost Legend is at the very low-end of the spectrum with doses of ~500mg showing the greatest effect with little to no side-effects.
Olive Leaf Extract
There’s no commentary from Ghost Legend as to why they included Olive Leaf Extract in the formulation, but olive leaves are packed a polyphenol called oleuropein—a compound that is responsible for most of olive oil’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and disease-fighting characteristics.
Dosing ranges dramatically depending on what you are trying to do with it, and Examine.com reports typical supplemental doses in the range of 500-1000mg, with LDL oxidation as the outlier seeing positive effects with doses as low as 10mg.
Thank goodness for NADH, because who wants to say Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide Hydrate?
Again, no clear narrative from Ghost Legend on why NADH was included in the formulation, but it’s likely for the nootropic effect and improved mental focus. But NADH also plays a role in energy production and is often used to improve athletic performance and treat conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome.
Regardless, the 2.5mg dose of NADH is somewhat low compared to the 5-10mg studied in scientific research, so it’s hard to make any assertions about efficacy in the context of a pre workout.
Oh, and in case you missed it earlier, NADH is stabilized with plant oils and beeswax making Ghost Legend suitable for vegans.
Rauwolfia Root Extract
Ghost Legend contains just 1mg of Rauwolfia Root Extract, which is presumably for the Rauwolscine also known as Alpha-Yohimbine.
With Rauvolfia Vomitoria containing ~90% Rauwolscine, it’s hard to know if the 0.9mg you’re getting in Ghost Legend will be doing anything significant. And as with all of these fringe ingredients, human trials and peer reviewed studies aren’t there to validate the claims.
Dosage and How to Take Ghost Legend
A serving size is 1 scoop, and there are 30 servings in a container.
Simply stir or shake 1 scoop of Ghost Legend into 6-8 ounces of water and consume 20-30 minutes before you workout.
Claims vs. Reality
Ghost Legend doesn’t make too many outlandish claims throughout their website and packaging. Even legendary pumps is just fine with us as a huge pump when working out does feel all sorts of epic.
But Ghost Legend lands with pretty bold claim right out of the gate that is worth challenging.
All you need to know is that Ghost Legend packs more than 2x of the stuff you care about most into every scoop than most “leading” pre-workouts.
So the first question we have to answer here is what should you care about most in a pre workout, and secondly, how much of the stuff does Ghost Legend have vs some leading brands?
The top ingredients for pre workouts are hotly debated, and you should know that it’s tough to make overly-simplistic comparisons as no two formulations are generally the same.
But here are three of the more common ingredients that have been shown to have positive effects.
- Beta Alanine
- L-Citrulline or L-Arginine
Assessing the leading pre workouts is also challenging, as it depends on where you look. But using the top 5 Best Sellers in Sports Nutrition Pre-Workout Powders on Amazon, the analysis breaks down like this:
|Product||Rank||Caffeine||Beta Alanine||L-Citrulline or L-Arginine|
|VINTAGE BLAST Pre Workout||#1||250mg*||1000mg||2857mg**|
|Six Star Explosion Pre Workout||#2||135mg||1500mg||1100mg***|
|C4 Sport Pre Workout||#3||135mg||1600mg||??|
|OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD Pre Workout||#4||175mg||1500mg||750mg|
|OPTIMUM NUTRITION ESSENTIAL AMINO ENERGY||#5||160mg||—||??|
|Ghost Legend Pre Workout||202mg||2000mg||4000mg|
* Likely less than 250mg as the 100mg of microencapsulated caffeine is not pure.
** Vintage Blast uses 5g of Citrulline Malate, which is generally around 57% L-Citrulline
*** There additional L-Citrulline in a 500mg blend not reflected in this amount
Does the two-times hold-up?
In short, it doesn’t.
The claim only really wins out for the L-Citrulline, and Ghost Legend really does pack in the value far outstripping some of the top competition.
But with the Caffeine and Beta Alanine, it’s not a claim that holds-up to scrutiny.
There’s also a ton of quality products on the market that some sources will rank as “leaders”, like Legion Athletics Pulse, which contains 3600mg of Beta Alanine, 8000mg of Citrulline Malate (giving 4000mg of L-Citrulline) and 350mg of Caffeine!
Who is Ghost Preworkout Best For?
Pre workouts can be helpful to anyone participating in both anaerobic and aerobic sports and have long been used by bodybuilders to help boost performance in the gym.
And for the serious lifter or professional athlete that is generally working out harder and longer than most, a pre workout can definitely give you the edge and extend both physical and mental performance.
But as with any supplement, there are some pros and cons to consider.
The biggest pro is the energy boost from ingredients like Caffeine and Beta Alanine, and most people will feel the difference. However, these same ingredients can leave some people feeling edgy and jittery, and many others find the notorious itching associated with Beta Alanine quite unpleasant—even if it is harmless.
And while these formulations can have you pushing longer and harder, unless you are going with a product that has a full-disclosure label like Ghost Legend, you often don’t know exactly what you are ingesting. For some, that’s both a risk and a turn-off.
Ghost Legend Safety and Side Effects
The ingredients in Ghost Legend are fully disclosed in name and quantity, and they are generally safe and natural inclusions in a pre workout product.
However, as with all stimulant containing supplements, there are some standard safety guidelines and side-effects in play.
Ghost Legend contains 202mg of caffeine and depending on your size and tolerance you could experience agitation, jitters, headaches and nausea.
And Ghost Legend provides a clear warning on the label that you should not be taking any other products with caffeine when consuming their pre workout—and that includes plain old coffee.
So be sure to factor-in your morning coffee ritual if your are planning to take Ghost Legend as part of a morning workout routine. And exercise caution around evening consumption of Ghost Legend too, as 202mg of caffeine is like drinking ~2 cups of coffee just hours before bed!
Chances are you are going to feel the 2g of Beta Alanine in Ghost Legend, especially if you are not currently taking a pre workout supplement.
And in addition to the added energy, you’re likely to experience Beta Alanine’s infamous flushing and itching of the skin—often down the sides of the face, chest and arms.
It’s harmless, but it can be disconcerting and a little unpleasant if you’ve never experienced it before.
The side-effect is also reduced for many people with increased frequency of exposure—so it should get better over time.
Where to Buy + Costs
The price direct at Ghost is $44.99 and standard 3-5 day shipping will run you another $5.99.
So that’s a hefty $50.98 for 30 servings—or $1.70 per serving.
So it’s not cheap.
Your best bet is to head over to gnc.com or your local GNC store where you can frequently get great deals. For example, at the time of writing there’s a buy one get one 50% off deal, as well as free shipping on orders over $49.
That would net you 60 servings of Ghost Legend for just $67.48 or just over $1 per serving—that’s a whopping 58% discount!
GNC also offers the subscribe and save program, so if you’re taking the product regularly you can save 10% on the price PLUS get free shipping. So that alone will save you 20% over the Ghost direct pricing and shipping costs.
It’s also worth mentioning the Ghost Loyalty program again:
We Created the Ghost Loyalty program to give back to our most loyal and active fans. Of course we’re rewarding you for purchasing Ghost, but we’re also rewarding you for interacting with the brand and doing stuff you already do, like going to the gym and posting dope pictures. Use the points you earn to shop for products and merch. Simple. Awesome.
You can earn points by interacting with the brand on all the leading social media platforms, and the points can build up pretty quickly. So if you’re active on social media and enjoy the brand, they’ll essentially reward you for stuff you’re just going to be doing anyway—such as tagging your friends and sharing dope pics of you looking swole in your workouts.
There’s even up to 500 bonus points hidden on a card inside each container of the product.
Points can ultimately be redeemed to purchase products online and a tub of Ghost Legend currently sells for 9000 points.
It’s not going to be getting you much free product, but if you’re a fan, it is an easy way to help bring the price down even further.
The Bottom Line
Alright, let’s cut to the chase: Does Ghost Legend hold-up to the hype, and is it worth your money?
Does Ghost Legend Work?
From the ingredients list we think it’s a winner. Sure there’s some ambitious claims with regards to competitors, but the ingredients list is all natural, fully-disclosed and uses quality ingredients in adequate quantities.
So if you’re not a heavy consumer of caffeine, and you’ve been lying low on the pre workouts for a while, you should see a positive effect in your workout endurance, mental energy with a solid pump to boot.
Just know that all of the pre workout formulations are different, and one stack may work better for you than another. So a little experimentation might be needed to find the one that works best for YOU.
What are Consumers Saying?
With a strong brand and community, Ghost Legend is a popular product. And the ongoing partnership with successful competitive bodybuilder and entrepreneur Christian Guzman adds real credibility.
There are no consumer reviews on the Ghost site itself, but Ghost Legend is popular with GNC shoppers rated at 4.5/5 stars from 147 reviews.
Some of the recent review feedback:
★★★★★ Works great. I love it. It gives me that boost when I really need it. Highly recommend it. – September 30, 2019
★★★★★ Ghost Legend
It is the best pre-workout in the game!! –September 29, 2019
★★★★★ Husband’s favorite!
Husband loves this preworkout and he has tried 20+ different ones. Good pump, energy that is not nervous or shaky, and lasts through his 2 hour workout. –September 26, 2019
★☆☆☆☆ felt nothign
I normally take c4 when i work out and i bought this instead because i live for ghost protein powder. this does literally NOTHING. its actually crazy i feel nothing when i take it. a huge let down for me. i’m returning it. –September 24, 2019
Great taste. Like the mental energy, but not sure yet about the physical energy really lasting through a workout. –September 21, 2019
Should I Buy Ghost Legend?
If you want to try a pre workout product you likely can’t go too far wrong with Ghost Legend. It uses high-quality ingredients in appropriate quantities, and while it’s not setting any records on dosing, there’s enough to get the job done without the risk of excessive side effects.
You also know exactly what you are taking with a full-disclosure label, and the product is manufactured in and FDA GMPc approved facility.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you’re new to pre workouts and looking for a quality product to get you started, Ghost Legend is a solid bet. Just know that without good deals to be had from GNC, Ghost Legend is one of the more expensive pre workout options. But on the plus side, you get to be part of the Ghost family those loyalty points will eventually add-up.